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Al-Sharaa said 37 middle school students, seven teachers and other visitors were at the hot springs near the Dead Sea on Thursday afternoon, some eating lunch, when they were taken by surprise by the flooding.

"The teachers tried to save the children but the floods intensity made it impossible", he added saying the children were swept to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.

At least 16 people, a lot of them children, were killed in a fierce flood on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea Thursday.

Helicopters and divers were used during the rescue operation which lasted into Thursday night.

Another 35 people were injured following heavy rains on Thursday, including members of the security forces involved in rescue operations, a civil defence official told AFP, updating earlier tolls.

"We are especially able to sympathize with the Jordanian families because we also experienced a similar tragedy last April, when 10 students perished following torrential rains that caused flash floods during their trip in the desert", Maj.

A Jordanian official said Israel had offered to help and the kingdom requested a helicopter with the technology to find buried bodies in mud that would accelerate the searches. The specialists later returned to Israel, though they remained on alert.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Rajai Muasher, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas, Adviser to His Majesty for Tribal Affairs Sharif Fawwaz Zaben Abdullah, and Adviser to His Majesty for Economic Affairs Mohamad Al Ississ attended the meeting.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, said that the Dead Sea flood incident "was a great tragedy that hurt all of us as Jordanians, God bless the dead and give us patience".

The king ordered the Jordanian flag at the palace's main entrance to fly at half-staff for three days in mourning for the victims of the flood.

This picture shows the site of a bus accident near the Dead Sea in Jordan on October 25, 2018.

"It swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometres, " some as far as the Dead Sea, he said.


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